It’s Official….

The Internet is a sadists’ playground.

By Chris Mooney

In the past few years, the science of Internet trollology has made some strides.

Last year, for instance, we learned that by hurling insults and inciting discord in online comment sections, so-called Internet trolls (who are frequently anonymous) have a polarizing effect on audiences, leading to politicization, rather than deeper understanding of scientific topics.

That’s bad, but it’s nothing compared with what a new psychology paper has to say about the personalities of trolls themselves.

The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad:

Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others),

Narcissism (egotism and self-obsession),

Psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and

Sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).

It is hard to underplay the results: The study found correlations, sometimes quite significant, between these traits and trolling behavior.

What’s more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits (except for narcissism) and the overall time that an individual spent, per day, commenting on the internet.

In the study, trolls were identified in a variety of ways.

One was by simply asking survey participants what they “enjoyed doing most” when on online comment sites, offering five options: “debating issues that are important to you,” “chatting with others,” “making new friends,” “trolling others,” and “other.”

Here’s how different responses about these Internet commenting preferences matched up with responses to questions designed to identify Dark Triad traits:

E.E. Buckels et al, “Trolls just want to have fun,” Personality and Individual Differences, 2014.

To be sure, only 5.6 percent of survey respondents actually specified that they enjoyed “trolling.”

By contrast, 41.3 percent of Internet users were “non-commenters,” meaning they didn’t like engaging online at all.

So trolls are, as has often been suspected, a minority of online commenters, and an even smaller minority of overall Internet users.

The researchers conducted multiple studies, using samples from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk but also of college students, to try to understand why the act of trolling seems to attract this type of personality.

They even constructed their own survey instrument, which they dubbed the Global Assessment of Internet Trolling, or GAIT, containing the following items:

“I have sent people to shock websites for the lulz.”

“I like to troll people in forums or the comments section of websites.”

“I enjoy griefing other players in multiplayer games.”

“The more beautiful and pure a thing is, the more satisfying it is to corrupt.”

Yes, some people actually say they agree with such statements.

And again, doing so was correlated with sadism in its various forms, with psychopathy, and with Machiavellianism.

Overall, the authors found that the relationship between sadism and trolling was the strongest, and that indeed, sadists appear to troll because they find it pleasurable.

“Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others,” they wrote.

“Sadists just want to have fun … and the Internet is their playground!”

The study comes as websites, particularly at major media outlets, are increasingly weighing steps to rein in trollish behavior.

Last year Popular Science did away with its comments sections completely, citing research on the deleterious effects of trolling, and YouTube also took measures to rein in trolling.

But study author Buckels actually isn’t sure that fix is a realistic one.

“Because the behaviors are intrinsically motivating for sadists, comment moderators will likely have a difficult time curbing trolling with punishments (e.g., banning users),” she said by email.

“Ultimately, the allure of trolling may be too strong for sadists, who presumably have limited opportunities to express their sadistic interests in a socially-desirable manner.”


30 thoughts on “SADIST’S PLAYGROUND

  1. Reblogged this on Pippakins Other News. Or something and commented:
    I do like this although I disagree that people go online to make new friends the people we’re in contact with may be thousands of miles away and I suspect that distance is part of the attraction of the net; we actually don’t want new friends most of us want to discuss, exchange opinions and maybe share some humorous banter making our world more inclusive and open. Trolling is different it seeks the weakness in others and goes on to exploit it in offensive remarks and personal insults.

  2. Hi Withnail, I will have to disagree with you over your description of DenverElle as I have plenty of printed proof that she/he was encouraging people, both openly and slyly by DM (published on Twitter) to report me to the police as I was a “Criminal” and a “Paedophile.”

    Check her out online with regard to the Mindbending Education System she is involved with in the US…

  3. Hi J
    Hmmm, I know you know a bit more about this than I do…
    Someone deliberately caused a problem between Leigh & Inna (specifically, someone (don’t know who) told Leigh that Leighton Reality was actually an account run by you, then asked her to tell Inna. However, Inna knows Leighton so knew it was untrue, then went a bit ballistic and blamed Leigh (but not the person who original told Leigh the lies)).
    Incidentally, YouTube psycho has trolls of his own – bloody crazy ones too! You’ve probably seen. I almost feel sorry for him. Ha! No I don’t.

    1. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer (not) bloke, I’ll not lose a moments sleep over him getting a taste of his own bitter medicine.

      I am not going to change my opinion on DenverElle though, I have been on the receiving end of her bile-ridden, underhanded and manipulative abuse.

  4. Just seen that Barry Convex has tweeted this blog post – he’s going to get a bit of a reaction for that I expect. He’s a brilliant guy!

  5. I have been watching these accounts and Denver Elle also seems highly suspect to me.Her claims that the Reality and Convex accounts were Outlaw due to syntax and IP(?) similarities are bizarre. I have not seen an explanation from her, indeed she claims the Reality/Convex questions/protestations are a “troll” attack on her…but there seems to be no justification for that at all. Seems close to that nasty MonadTime account.
    In that screenshot of her DMs with Innamood she seems to infer that Paul Rogers is a “pro disruption job” and not to be trusted”, yet they still seem to be friends. Very strangely forgiving, much like that MonadTime after those Angleseydrift attacks! What is it all about Outlaw?
    MonadTime’s argument with Convex was telling indeed. Monad is constantly harassing seemingly inoffensive accounts and accusing them of abuse and all sorts. Is it purely because they link to your blog do you think?
    Or are you secretly all these other accounts after all? LOL

  6. It can’t be simply for tweeting this blog as I am pretty sure the Innamood account doesn’t do that! Perhaps these “Team Chimp” accounts are harassed because they have worked out the true intentions of MonadTime/Elle/Vetty etc and that is why they are seen as a threat?
    It’s a tragedy that such abuse and distraction is taking place in the anti-CSA community…I hope more will join the dots so these people are seen for who they really are.

    1. I believe that more people are joining dots and seeing the deliberate distractions and attacks on the people who see the bigger picture.

      There are many genuine survivors who will never speak out now because of these teams of trolls, that seem to trawl social networks with the sole purpose of stopping them speaking out.

      There is a definate pattern to it I have found, one which makes the genuine survivors appear to be liars so they will just back down and keep quiet.

      The reasons should be obvious to anyone who has been watching..

      Protecting Paedophiles higher up the food chain.

  7. The Denver Dill is as transparent as it get’s. If she is the best they have – says a lot doesn’t it?
    Arrogant nasty old bint.

  8. Bloody good post Desmond.

    “Teamoutlaw” is simply anyone who has spoken to Jimmy on Twitter. A well known NHS whistleblower was included – and loup (bedoubty) was also targeted. Neither are part of any (imaginary) team. Saying that, I’m a bit of a team member myself now…

    The plan was to isolate Outlaw. YouTube man is still telling people “unfriend his Facebook page” etc.

    It worked – a bit – no one wants these troll attacks. But for every participant there are 10 observers. And that’s why their plan has collapsed.

    I still think the jury is out on DenverElle for me, but you people seem to understand this a bit better than I do – perhaps I’m too damn soft. Until Monad’s ‘broken bones’ tweet, I still thought he might be simply deluded…
    Oh, I see YouTube man gets precisely zero comments on his ridiculous blog.
    Got to laugh at that constantly desperate attempt. And not just because I’ve seen how small his knob is…

  9. Whoops! You’d not be daft enough I meant to say. don’t want Crustillian having a pop about my wobbly syntax again now do I?

  10. Withnail my friend, with regard to DenverElle, witnessing her outright lies about me is not ‘jumping to conclusions’. Also, like a certain other ‘female’ troll Elle seems awfully concerned with the local events in this country while pumping out their bile-laden Tweets from a different country. I am sure there are equally important issues where they are that they could be addressing. For instance there is one in Holland who constantly obsesses about Paedophiles in Wales yet denies there is a similar, if not worse trafficking problem in Holland, even though the evidence proves her wrong time and time again. You are not the target of these people Withnail, when you are, you may change your opinion somewhat.

  11. ‘Attack Dog?’

    Am I responsible for the actions of a lunatic from Anglesey now?

    Anyone who proports to have been watching closely the events of last year should have seen clearly that I am my own person with my own opinions.

    I must admit the deception was pretty well executed but I can assure you that I did not share the views or encourage in any way the behaviour of YouTube man.

    It has taken people more than a year for most people to see what was going on, some of us knew many months ago.

    There is no honour amongst thieves and that goes for certain ex-care home residents too.

    Some were psychopathic manipulators who knew exactly how to play the system to their advantage from an early age.

    They have not changed to any degree and simply continue using any means possible.

  12. Withnail – to reply to your bedopey comment – interesting! – J – correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t be dopey say it was a bloke? – though I have always thought it was a woman as that is what my instincts have told me it is. It also told us it worked with the PRETEND Chartered Psychologist that uses the 10-20 year out of date photo on it’s profile to lure the boys. The one that has been part of this nasty little vendetta against J & tried to spread round lies about me too & to convince J was a wrong ‘un. Funnily enough, I didn’t need a PRETEND Chartered Psychology degree or even a real one to spot that 1 was a wrong ‘un from the get go – & THAT one is when my head & my heart told me something very wrong was going on here & NOT to turn a blind eye. Weren’t wrong were they? No offence intended in my last post by the way, these people get my heckles up in a big way – after a year of it I am taking no prisoners, especially not where these stalking fruit loops are concerned
    P.S. If you tinkle the ivories, I know who you are.

  13. P.S. Withnail – we’ve done the homework. If you are a disciple of be dopey or any of that clan – don’t waste your breath fella – like I say, we know who the players are – & we have lived & breathed it, so we know what we are saying is fact. After the hell they have put J through, they gave us no choice but to know who they are. We don’t do schmoozers & fence sitters are 1 of my pet hates – just sayin’

  14. Wow – a busy thread, this one!
    Sorry Jimmy & Jane if I’m stepping on a few toes. It’s just that I do really try to see the good in some of these people – even if it’s buried in a pile of shit. And occasionally – (rarely to be honest) I think you miss the mark. (You hit it more than anyone else I’ve ever known though so please don’t take that as bad criticism – I’m always a bit in awe of the stuff you’ve done)
    Some (Gandalf, YouTube guy) are simply beyond redemption. Totally fucked and will never, ever be trusted. Others… well, people can be manipulated. The manipulators are professional. They are good at it. They use all sorts of NLP tricks. People are fooled – and it’s not surprising. At least a couple of the people you think are malicious are simply brainwashed. It’s the brainwashers I’m more bothered about. Dangerous, clever, downright evil. Evil in a way that only people who believe in the physical reality of The Devil can truly comprehend.
    I’ve done a bit of homework myself. Phone calls, meetings etc. way more than most. And I’ve also been on the receiving end of very serious abuse. Nothing compared to Outlaws’ stuff of course (not even close) – but serious nevertheless.
    Jane – as to my identity – please email Jimmy. I can’t use either my real name or my twitter username on this site. Tried that once… death threats galore! (Traced, reported, police file, lawyers etc. oh what fun)
    Will comment more later on – busy day today.

    1. Aye Withnail. Religion, Israel and Trolls are the subjects which seem to provoke the strongest reactions and the most comments (in their defence normally).

      Being reasonably observant, that could read as either they provoke a strong reaction or need to be defended somehow…

      Who knows eh?

  15. My Ozzie Mum gave me some great advice once when I was a kid. She said you should always try to find the good in people, because even in the most horrible people, there will be some. So being me, I asked her what if they are so horrible there’s no good to find – she said tell them to p off.
    Good advice that has served me well. With all due respect, you don;t even know half of it, nor will you until the Police have done their thing. Then you might be a little more respectful to the reasons why we are not buying the flannel. Sounds to me like you are just Mr Damage Limitation intermediary. Whatever you say, we will have evidence to stand our ground on this – as do the Police. So no offence old bean – but you can write a sonnet on your theories if you like, but we know what we know & there can be no disputing it.
    P.S. Drink less, sharpen your Joanna skills. Learn a new act?

  16. The name Angleseadrift is a funny one as in the south of wales it was known in “gay” circles that drifting was exactly that, engineering term drift using a drift tool to open a hole, now team that with Anglesea, which has long been know as the dirty little corner of wales were all types of nasty things live.
    He was on gojams blog declaring that he has evidence that proves mcalpines innocence, tool, i mean drift!

  17. Jane: “With all due respect, you don;t even know half of it, nor will you until the Police have done their thing.”
    That sentence implies a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. Can we realistically expect arrests and charges brought? Are you fully confident of this?
    I do hope this situation is not going to fester on too much longer.

  18. Jane…
    Drink less? Why would I want to do that? If anything, I want to drink more – so stop being cheeky!
    I’ve had another message this morning from someone else who’s realised what the little team are up to. They have no credibility at all any more.
    Got to run, but just wanted to say, Outlaw, that I never mean any disrespect – ever – you’re a bit of a hero of mine. If you ever find your way down here, dinner is on me. (that goes for you too Jane).

  19. I am impressed, I must say. Very seldom do I encounter a blog thats both educational and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your blog is outstanding; the issue is something that not many people are speaking intelligently about.

  20. …. and that’s why I don’t do face book or twitter. Why would I want the world to know my business? I suppose it has it’s uses though, as my friend’s says its great on animal welfare, vegetarianism/ veganism or helps the lonely to make some friends.

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